A concerned Malawian entrepreneur has turned to the pull of football to wage war on massive deforestation of Mbula Hills in Mwaulambia, Chitipa.
The alarming rate at which trees are vanishing in the hilly border region between Malawi and Tanzania has compelled John Swila, owner of HI-Class Laundry and Dry Cleaners in Mzuzu, to mobilise village heads to run a football league as a platform for raising awareness against wanton felling of trees.
Village heads in the remote settings of Mwakabangi, Khonje and Ifumbo blame Tanzanians who cart away truckloads of logs for sale as strict laws in the neighbouring country prohibit cutting down trees without permission from forestry officials.
But he said: “The major problem is lack of community awareness and participation.
“Government may deploy soldiers to guard our forests, but it will be costly and unsustainable unless Malawians take part to save the remaining trees and to plant some more.”
The competition, involving 10 primary schools, will help rally the locals against taking part in ransacking the environment and aiding the destructive neighbours.
The winning school will go away with a cash prize whose value will be disclosed during the official launch slated for July 2.
However, one of the individual awards will go to an outstanding village head in recognition of efforts to ensure the illegal loggers and smugglers face arrest and prosecution. n